We would like cohousing to be recognised as a model for positive future living that can alleviate; the pressures of demographic changes, support equality objectives, combat loneliness, reduce living costs and reverse the decline in active participation in civil society. The original concept of cohousing centered around ideas of smaller homes (cost less to live in and less of a burden for ‘women’ to look after), safer design for family and community interaction and inbuilt mutual support features to reduce the pressures of modern day life through sharing space, time, domestic tasks and tools.
In January 2015 we surveyed supporters of cohousing on a range of views about cohousing and the role of the Network, an overwhelming 97% of respondents think campaigning is an important function of the Cohousing Network. UKCN supporters told us that their top priorities for change include;
- Access to public land/redundant property at fixed values (64%)
- Sustained access to affordable housing finance and ready made partnerships with housing associations (61%)
- Increased recognition of senior cohousing projects (58%)
Why a campaign?
In the past three years the Cohousing Network has been at the forefront of a growing movement, as demonstrated by the:
- 100% increase in new projects forming from 30 to 75,
- Rapid increase in project development with several projects due to start on site in 2015; London, Countryside (Colchester), Bridport Cohousing, Older Women’s Cohousing Group, Woodside Cohousing and Mandorla in Hereford,
- Widespread media coverage in the Guardian, Telegraph, BCC Radio, Granada TV and lots of local news coverage,
- Acceptance from mainstream policy and programmes that cohousing is a desirable addition to community place making in for example widening the criteria of the Community led Project Support Fund & the first cohousing project now in receipt of capital HCA funding.
This is the tip of the iceberg in terms of wider awareness of cohousing and how it can be applied in different situations to meet local needs. In recent years, as knowledge of cohousing spreads the Network has facilitated enquires from deprived estates looking to rejuvenate community life and create the framework for mutual support, and also from national research think tanks recommending cohousing as a solution for community renewal and unpopular sheltered housing.